Foxtel Media attracts partners for its ad experimentation platform Foxtest

Foxtel Media has today announced several new Foxtest partners and a debut of testing following significant interest in the advertising experimentation platform.

IPG, OMD, Spark Foundry, GroupM and several independents have come on board as agency partners. Testing has commenced with sport and entertainment research authority, Gemba and with TV performance management platform, Adgile, to help co-create the future of marketing and explore innovation across video advertising.

During the Foxtel Media’s 2021 Showcase event, the company said Foxtest is a $3 million initiative helping brands explore the frontiers of advertising, and run experiments across advertising content, experience, and data.

Under the Foxtest banner, Foxtel Media commissioned Gemba to conduct a three-phase research project to understand the female sporting audience and demonstrate the true value of this platform for brands, partners, and sponsors.

It included: content (impact of context, assessing inventory on engagement, re-evaluating standard media metrics), ad experience (impact of lower ad loads on advertising performance, the co-creation of new ad formats or tactics to enhance to command more attention), and data (third party data ingestion and segmentation, deeper consumer insight, sales attribution)

In collaboration with a number of partners, including NAB, Harvey Norman and Suncorp, Foxtel Media will seek to define the drivers of engagement across Women’s Sports, and how these build trust, resonance and ultimately lead to great outcomes for brands.

Key takeouts from the session included that Foxtel Group now has 1 million subscribers, with over 55% of them now streaming, with Kayo and Binge both going strong with over 1 million subscribers each.

It had its strongest performance ever for 2021 NRL, T20 World Cup, and the Ashes was the most-watched test series in Fox Cricket history.

Foxtel said it had enviable advertising revenue growth, including 95% increase for Kayo and 25% increase for Sport, with nearly 200 new clients added in 2021.

Earlier this week, new research released by Fox Sports showed popularity of women’s sport is on a strong growth trajectory.

The research, conducted in partnership with YouGov, sampled 3054 adults between the eighth to the 15th of February this year, finding 70% of Australians had increased their consumption of women’s sport since pre-pandemic times.

During the session, Fox Sport’s commercial director – Sport, Rebecca McCloy, said: “I’ve been at Fox Sports for 10 years, and I really feel that we are stepping into this new era of women’s sport. Over the last two years we have invested heavily in women’s sport, and now we are starting to see that audience growth and real uplifts that these sports deserve.

“We are starting to see new brands align themselves with the sports and with the broadcasters. The sheer scale of the Foxtel Group means that we will naturally see uplifts in audiences. You’ve got 4.1 million subscribers, 2.4 million sport subscribers, and it feels like we’re breaking records every week.”

Fox Sports commercial director – Sport, Rebecca McCloy (pictured)

“When we look and see that 40% of the viewers are watching sports events via streaming, it’s really showing how much Kayo is supercharging the audiences. The second part of this is that appetite for women’s sport is increasing, we’re seeing that in the community, and we’re seeing that in broadcast.”

She added: “Just over two-thirds of our audience consuming women’s sport are men, dispelling the myth that it’s only women watching women’s sport. The millennials are the group that are watching and consuming women’s sport week-to-week more than any other, and this is mainly down to more media coverage.”

Gemba’s head of strategy, Andrew Goodieson, added: “We are completely on board with Foxtel Media about going deeper in our understanding of the barriers and opportunities for brands to invest more into Women Sport. We are confident that this research will provide a playbook to inspire and help brands realise the full potential of the women codes across the country.”

Westpac, and its media agency Spark Foundry, was announced as one of Foxtest’s first partners late last year, with a focus on defining the role of context and engagement in optimising brand and retail messages.

Spark Foundry client director, Vanessa Akem said: “We believe attention is a significant metric, and we’re investing early in quantifying the contribution of engagement and context. Westpac is the perfect client to help us to trial new methodologies, with tests like this allowing our teams to apply the most contemporary thinking in an increasingly competitive market.”

Foxtel Group CEO, Patrick Delany (left) Foxtel Media CEO, Mark Frain (right)

Foxtel Media CEO, Mark Frain, said the strong interest and positive reception from the market has not surprised him, “The initiative premiered to broad industry appeal, with many key players showing great appetite for the move away from the traditional ad-buying model. Over the last 12 months we have actively listened to our agency partners and clients – they want to collaborate to define new ways of working and challenge the existing advertising conventions, formats and experiences for brands.”

“Since announcing Foxtest we have been in close consultation and engagement with agencies and clients from across the industry. We are already making great progress in establishing tests, specifically across data integration, creating new ad formats and further understanding the application of attention metrics across our channels.”

Magna Global managing director, Nick Durrant said: “IPG has already commenced work on a number of tests that seek to better understand how we can plan and buy more engaged and higher value audiences across Foxtel platforms. Ultimately you need to start somewhere, and by carving out some budget, and partnering with our clients, we can begin to test and define new ways of buying that go beyond blunt CPMs and start to leverage the deep insights of Foxtel’s valuable subscribers.”

OMD national head of investment, Marelle Salib, said “The team at OMD are doubling down in defining the future of our data capabilities with Foxtel, and we are pleased to confirm that McDonald’s will be one of the founding partners of Foxtest. We are excited to further understand and unleash the greater targeting opportunities that sit across Foxtel’s streaming platforms and extend this testing mindset across the OMD client base.”

The charge for defining new ad formats and models across Foxtel platforms will be led by GroupM, with Seb Rennie chief investment officer, echoing the positive market sentiment behind the experimentation. “In our capacity as an agency partner, and a key customer, GroupM plays a key strategic role in exploring new ad formats that continue to evolve and improve the customer experience. We will apply this lens as the capabilities evolve across Foxtel’s streaming platforms and we seek new opportunities to make advertising better for people. We are excited to facilitate these trials across our client base and look forward to building out these new opportunities with the Foxtel Media team”.

Foxtel Media has also commenced a partnership with Adgile Media to close the loop on buying activity across Foxtel’s streaming platforms.

Adgile’s chief customer officer, Craig Service, called out some very positive insights gleaned from the trials to date, “We have applied Adgile’s Intelligent Content Recognition (ICR) technology across a number of retail campaigns on Foxtel streaming platforms and the results are significant. Advertisers can see the direct flow of sales and web traffic from campaigns, and to date we have seen a 3 times greater return on investment on campaigns across Kayo. We continue to work with Foxtel Media to establish further benchmarks on performance and outcomes across a broad range of categories on their streaming platforms.”

Looking ahead, Foxtel said in an advertising landscape where attention can be elusive, sport retains highly engaged and attentive viewers. Foxtel added its overall audience averages 9 million a month on linear and 2.8 million a month on Kayo.

Foxtel added that it has fit-for-purpose formats and multiple buying options, from basic spot schedules, solus breaks, grassroots sponsorships and seamless brand integrations, plus Fox Venues and state-based targeting on our digital services. Kayo will join VPM in time for the AFL and NRL seasons.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.